Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos met with president of the World Bank Robert Zoellick in Mexico City Thursday, to discuss such issues as fighting poverty, economic growth, and Colombia’s ability to compete with Asia.
After the private breakfast the two leaders shared in the Mexican capital, Zoellick said that he had discussed “some of his plans to combat poverty and seek to improve the living conditions of people in Colombia and also how to strengthen long-term growth.”
“I have had the opportunity to work with President (Santos) before, and I have great respect for what he has achieved in his earlier work,” the World Bank president said.
On Wednesday Santos met with the acclaimed Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez at his residence near Mexico City, where he wrote his masterpiece, “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
Marquez has lived in Pedregal de San Angel, a volcanic area near the capital famed for its unique landscapes, since the 1980s when the writer was forced to leave his homeland of Colombia for fear of political persecution.
The President-elect, who assumes power on August 7, will also speak with Mexican president Felipe Calderon before traveling to Panama, Chile, Peru, Argentina, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
President-elect Santos has not yet commented on the diplomatic crisis which unfolded Thursday between Colombia and Venezuela, following allegations made before the Organization of American States (OAS).
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez said that he hoped that Santos had nothing to do with the “aggression” shown by Colombia during the special OAS meeting.
“I hope the new president [Santos] is not aware of this aggression. I hope to get some sound cards on the issue because I think there is a madness being unleashed in the Palace of Nariño,” Chavez said.
Venezuela’s ambassador to OAS, Roy Chaderton Matos, on Thursday labelled Colombia’s evidence of a guerrilla presence in Venezuela as “fantasies of Garcia Marquez” and dismissed the evidence as “malicious” and “evident lies.”